VDOT's snow budget woes

VDOT's snow budget woes

BRISTOL, Va. - Many of you are sick of winter weather, especially with this week's snow. We learned all of the snow is causing problems for the Virginia Department of Transportation as well.

Snow removal trucks have been busy this winter with what seems like endless snowfall, even through the end of March. "It started back in December and it snows, I don't know, it seemed like every week. It was a snow or every two or three days," says Mitchell Reedy with VDOT.

The 'never-ending' winter has busted VDOT's budget. We learned the state's snow removal budget for this winter is $157 million, but by mid-March they'd already used $350 million. "Whether it's a large snow or a small snow, we still have to mobilize and do the same amount of work," adds VDOT spokesperson Michelle Earl.

We compared this year to two of the state's harshest winters in recent memory according to VDOT. In the winter of 2010-2011, the state used nearly $208 million for snow removal operations; in the winter of 2009-2010 they used over $266 million.

Earl tells us the overdrawn budget means some projects, like state-wide paving, could be delayed until the new budget takes effect July 1. "Projects like Exit 7 and the Route 58 widening between Abingdon and Damascus, those won't be affected by this. Those are different budgets for construction," she explained.

Earl says other road safety projects will continue. "Potholes, any other snow we have, any other safety items that need to be done prior to the end of June, we will do those items," she said.

Meanwhile, VDOT and Mitchell Reedy hope this is the end of Old Man Winter. "Hopefully this is our last snow until next winter. I'm kind of ready for it to be summertime," Reedy said.

We learned for next winter's snow removal budget VDOT will look at the cost of this year and past years to get an average.

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